Wine 101: Wine Regions – California
California. Oregon. Washington. France. Italy. Virgina. Texas. Germany. Argentina. Chile. Spain. Wine is produced everywhere! It may be hard initially to get a handle on each wine region, so we just want to start scratching the surface.
Let’s start with parts of California. California is broken up into six wine growing regions: Northern California Coast, Central California Coast, Sacramento/San Joaquin Valleys, Sierra Nevada, Southern California & Far North California. Within these regions, there are 110 AVAs, each with something unique to offer. Next time you grab a bottle of wine, check to see what the AVA is. (AVA: American Viticulture Area – These are federally recognized wine growing regions.)
- If the label says “California,” then the grapes were harvested from vineyards all over the state, across multiple AVAs.
- If the label says “Napa, California,” 75% of the grapes were harvested within the county of Napa.
- If the label says “Rutherford,” 85% of the grapes were harvested within the Rutherford, California, AVA.
The Wine Institute provides a great California wine map of all of the AVAs.
California’s terroir (geography, geology, climate) varies from region to region, vineyard to vineyard. A wine from one AVA may have very distinct characteristics that you may not find in the same varietal from another AVA. Test your palate: try one varietal from different regions and see if you can pick out the nuances!
Here are some fun facts about California wines from the Wine Institute. Enjoy!
Which wine region is of the most interest to you? Which wine region represents the majority of wine you drink?
Like we said, we are just beginning to talk about wine regions. Watch for more blog posts about different regions within California or other parts of the world. Cheers!